About-Face for Abbas Who Agrees to Meet Olmert
Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas agreed to resume talks with Israel's PM Ehud Olmert, next week. The agreement came following talks with US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, in Jordan.
Secretary of State Rice's visit prompts easing of some West Bank restrictions
The next round of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations scheduled for the forthcoming Annapolis, Maryland, conference (date yet to be announced) were being actively promoted in Jerusalem today by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
Her optimism is being supported by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. There does seem more cause for optimism than in the final round of talks at Taba in late 2000, a last ditch attempt to gain some ground after the failed talks at Camp David, when Bill Clinton was unable to get agreement between Ehud Barak and Yasir Arafat.
Overlapping with Secretary Rice’s visit was the fourth meeting of the Saban Forum, a program of the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution. It brought “a high-level, bipartisan U.S. delegation to Jerusalem for discussions with their Israeli counterparts on the theme of ‘War and Peace in the Middle East.’” The official report on Israeli Foreign Minister, Tzipi Livni’s address makes interesting reading. It was also encouraging to note the presence of Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.
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